5 Easy Ways To Keep Visitors On Your Website for Longer

Decrease bounce rate and increase time spent on site. These two factors are highly sought after and can always be optimized to be even better. Here are 5 ways you can improve your website and capture a visitor’s attention for longer:

eyes-on-prize

1) Program a Contact Form to Pop Up Before They Leave – Are visitors bouncing quickly and not staying as long as you’d like? You can see the average time spent on an important page, like your home page, before bouncing. By using a third party contact form service, like nGage, you can program it so that the form will pop up and gently remind and encourage users to make contact before leaving. It’s all about taking crucial action within the right amount of time.

2) Use Relevant Content and Striking Visuals That Match – The images on your website can be stunning but without colorful language and the right words, it’s not useful for search engines or users. While we all can appreciate a beautiful website, it doesn’t mean much if there is no depth to the site. On the other hand, you can have the best content in the world but when paired with bad or drab design, doesn’t help your cause. Keep visitors interested by being personable and asking and answering questions they can relate to. Don’t forget to address user intent.

3) Showcase Helpful User Generated Content – We talk about UGC all the time and for a good cause. It’s possible to showcase reviews and testimonials while being trustworthy. You can cite the source of the review, ask a customer to do a video testimonial or even display a hand-written thank you note. These are all special and unique ways to show visitors that you do care and have happy customers to thank for your business’ success.

4) Improve Site Speed and Load Time – This is perhaps one of the most important factors to address. Especially when dealing with high load times and high bounce rates. A study last year found that the average website speed load time was 7.25 seconds. What are we dealing with? Dial-up load speeds? Unfortunately… not. Many websites have difficulty with bigger images and more complex web pages, which adds up. For each second longer your website takes to load, you could be losing a great deal of customers. Simply, because they don’t want to wait for your site to load. And why should they? There’s a lot of competition out there. Compressing images, cleaning up bulky code will help speed up your site and keep visitors interested for much longer.

5) Choose Links Wisely – Choosing links for a home page can be a difficult test. You want to put everything that’s most important linked from the home page. But you also want visitors to find what they’re looking for quickly. There has to be a balance between being SEO friendly and optimizing for user experience. The struggle is between aesthetics and utility but you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. It’s an issue of organization and making sure visitors can get to what they want in a reasonable amount of clicks (about 3). Luckily, you can always create different versions and split test on real-life users at a reasonable cost. This is an option that’s easy to implement and will help you get real feedback from people who aren’t biased by seeing your website every day!

Getting visitors to your website is quite an uphill battle, so once you’re at the top, you don’t want to lose them. Keep these tips in mind for increasing new visitor time on site and let us know if you have any other tips or suggestions!

Going From Google Mail To Google Author

Sign into your Gmail. In the upper right hand corner you will see your Google profile picture. Click it. Then click view profile.

Google Author Tutorial

That will take you into your Google+ profile. Click the About section at the top. Then scroll down to the section labeled Links and hit Edit. It will be listed just under the Contributor To section.

Google Authorship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the Contributor To section hit ‘Add Custom Link’. Label: Your Blog Link: http://www.yourblog.com. Then click Save.

Google Plus Contributor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that you are back at your Google+ profile window. Copy your Google+ URL.

Google+ Profile URL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now in your blog post link your name to your Google+ page. Make sure to include ?rel=author at the end of the link instead. So in my case the text ‘Blog post by: Sean Green’ is linked to the URL https://plus.google.com/u/0/101106610066450005756?rel=author Your URL obviously will be slightly different because your Google+ page will have a different number.

Linking To Your Google Profile Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, but how do I know if it’s working? Good question, go to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. Enter in the URL of your blog post.

Google Structured Data Tool

 

 

Bad Web Design Pet Peeves

Outdated. Cluttered. Intrusive. Tacky. Hard-to-read. Confusing. Questionable. Unreliable.

These are all words that could be used to describe a bad web design. While effective design is based on different factors that are “objectionable”, there are some fundamental things to consider before creating your masterpiece.

Here are some of my top pet peeves when it comes to bad seo web design:

Auto-play anything: Auto-play videos suck. Auto-play music is annoying. The worst offenders are sites that have a little person that walks out onto your screen and starts talking! I’m not sure who started this trend, but it’s 2012 and it should die already. A small but prominent call to action box is necessary sometimes, but this is just too much. (I’ve seen my fair share working on different websites, but what do you as a consumer think? Are these ever really helpful?)

Long, ugly contact forms: When a customer wants to contact you, they want to fill out as little important information as possible and hear back from you as soon as possible. Requiring a lot of personal information is aesthetically unappealing and can make potential customers question your ulterior motives. For example, are you giving away something for free in exchange for some contact information? Or are you asking potential customers to leave their information behind to be contacted. Either way, requiring too much info will kill your design and make your business seem not as trustworthy (all dependent on your industry, of course). Remember, this is an online contact form… not a tax return!

No clear call to action: Umm… where am I supposed to click and what am I supposed to do? Your home page and important landing pages should have an easy to find call to action. Contact, newsletter signups, click to call, buy now, download now – these are all easy to follow call to actions that your website needs in order to be useful. Don’t go overboard by displaying too many at the same time. Your customers don’t want clutter and too many CTA buttons can make your site look spammy.

Unconventional design that doesn’t make sense: Nowadays, every small business wants their site too look unique and capture the attention of their visitors. But going too abstract can make you lose site of basic website structure that is necessary for any website. I’m talking about: not having a home button, no contact information available, utilizing too much white space, using contrasting background and text colors. There are basic practices when it comes to effective web design and they exist for a reason!

Having a creative and effective website design doesn’t mean that you have to confine yourself inside a box but there are some things that you have to keep your eye on. Any design annoyances that you care to share?

Optimization for a Lower Bounce Rate

bounce rate How high is your website’s bounce rate? Obviously, a lower bounce rate is desirable. But depending on your industry, the “norm” can greatly vary.

If you take a look inside your Google Analytics account, it’s important to remember to look not only at the OVERALL bounce rate, but the bounce rate of individual landing pages. This applies whether you’re reorganizing your website or setting up new pay per click landing pages. Let’s say that your overall average is around 40%, but if you take a look at your home page, you find that the bounce rate is 80%! This means that 80% of customers aren’t finding what they need and leaving very quickly.

As a starting point, here are a few things you can look at:

Page load time: Let’s face it, who likes sitting around waiting for a page to load? If your site is slow, you can make it more effective by optimizing photos, your layout and cutting down on unnecessary content.
Design – Do you have a search engine friendly web design? Sometimes, a more complex design might sound appealing to make your site stand out while squeezing in all the information you want customers to find. But this won’t help your website unless it’s something that your customers are responding to, and not what you’re personally partial to! Take a step back and do some testing between some more simpler designs to find out for sure.
Relevancy – Here’s one more reason not to use broad keyword terms all over your website. Although you may want to rank for a variety of different keywords, your customers will want to find exactly what they’re looking for. If a certain keyword brings them to your site and they find that it’s irrelevant, your site is not useful. The last thing you want to do is to mislead potential customers. The best solution is to optimize per page/section and use specific keywords that describe exactly what they can expect to find on that page.

In the end, remember that a bounce rate is only one of many factors you can use to gauge your progress. But it is an important one as optimizing for a lower bounce rate can also improve your content focus, site design and even SEO.

SEO During the Website Redesign Process


In many ways, website redesign can be a lot like moving. There’s so much stuff to pack and rearrange that important things can get misplaced, lost or even left behind. And when you arrive at your new place, it can take a while for everything to be put back in it’s right place again.

If your business is ready for a new SEO web design makeover, here are 4 components that you CAN’T forget about:

1) Transferring tags and descriptions over – Sure, it’s time consuming but title/meta tags/descriptions, even alt tags for images, should reflect the content on each individual page. It’s considered bad SEO practice to have the same information reflected over and over on every page of your website.

2) 301 redirects – It may take awhile for Google to re-crawl your new site. In the meantime, your old URLS will show up in search engine page results. The most efficient way to make sure that this information is not lost is to create a 301 redirect from your old URL to new URL. This is simple for your webmaster to implement and will help preserve your search engine rankings.

3) Forgetting to link keywords – Transferring content from an old site to a new one often involves copy and pasting text. During the transfer, make sure that you don’t drop and URLS and make sure that they’re linking to the right working page.

4) Testing – Lastly, don’t forget the importance of testing before going live. This means checking links and overall usability before you go through with the complete site transfer.

Finally, even when your new website is completed it’s crucial to constantly review your SEO. The excitement of a brand new site may be overwhelming but remember that without the right SEO strategies, no one will be visiting!

Why You Need a Content Management System

Are you tired of waiting for changes to be accepted before they’re made live on your web site? A content management system can change the way you look at your website. One of the main benefits of using a CMS to maintain your site is that you don’t need any knowledge of HTML or programming to make updates. Making changes to your site is now was easy as blogging.

Features and Benefits of a CMS
Check out the search engine friendly web design we’ve created for Dr. Mike Dow. Creating or editing a new page is easy to do with the fields provided in the “backend” of the site. You can also add meta tags and descriptions that correspond to your page’s content. Need to add pictures of video? No problem.

A CMS is useful if you need to make frequent updates to your site. This means adding resource articles, blogging regularly or updating events. Did we mention that consistently adding relevant content to your site is good for SEO? With a CMS, you can go about adding content whenever and wherever you need without having to worry about interfering with the site design.

If your website does not currently have these user-friendly features, it’s time to think about a web content management system. As we’d like to think of it, out with the old static site and in with the new user-friendly CMS! Don’t forget to check out our Organic CMS for more information.

The Difference Between Web Development and Web Design

Emarketed web design and developmentYour clients have a misunderstanding between web development and web design – ever had this problem? It’s important to explain the difference between these two services because the terms shouldn’t be used interchangeably.

What do you think is the best way to explain web development and web design?

An Eye for Website Design
When people talk about “web design”, they often refer to the look and feel of a site. This means all the creative and visual elements of a website. In (very) broad terms, web design can be like planning out something in print. This means arranging the layout of the site and other graphic elements. To what degree that designers should know how to code is highly debatable…

Web Development Is…

Web development usually refers to the programming of a site to ensure that everything is working. This occurs in the “back end” of the site where all the content is added. Developers use script languages like PHP to make this all happen. When it comes to coding and programming, web developers take it to another level to make sure that these designs are functional. Without efficient development, the vision of your web design can’t fully be realized.

Finding Balance with Search Engine Friendly Web Design
So now that you know that web development and design have to work together, what do you get? Search engine friendly web design is when your site is fully optimized for search engines, as well as human visitors. Customers will take interest in your appealing web design while developers make sure that they find what they are looking for and that it’s working. If you think that websites have to be one or the other, you’re wrong. Read our previous post on bad website design. Some people may consider the design aspect more of an art and the development part to be more technical. What’s wrong with having both sets of skills or wearing two different “hats”? Finding a balance can be a good thing.

Check out some more discussion on what designers and developers should know about their respective fields.

Why You Should Consider Mobile Phone Design Compatibility

In February this year, Jwire released a study that showed that OVER half of public wi-fi connections aren’t made from laptops. This means that more and more people are turning to their cell phones to connect to the internet. If you have a mobile device, you might notice that some websites are formatted differently for a small screen. Proper mobile web design ensures that your website will be seen no matter where your customers choose to access it! After all, nothing is more disappointing for your business or your customers if they get a jumbled mess of a website when they access it from a mobile device.

Of course, we can’t talk about mobile devices and smart phones without mentioning applications. From games, giving gifts, to getting in shape, there’s pretty much a phone app for everything you can imagine! If you’re interested in phone app development for your business, we can definitely help. Think of all the possibilities and visibility that your business will gain as your app prepares for an App Store launch.

Just something to keep in mind as you check out Mashable’s list of some top applications for 2010.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Band Websites: Improving Bad Website Design

Ok, so your favorite band doesn’t suck but what about their website? After browsing some sites, I found that many artists, bands, labels are missing the point when it comes to good search engine friendly website design. Besides being esthetically unappealing or having a loop of the same blaring songs, these bad band sites also share other similarities:

Overdoing the Flash
Super long to load on slower internet connections and it can be really annoying. Yes, we’re looking at you, The Strokes (and tons of other bands). Your site may be fancy and look really cool, but it’s 100% flash dependent. Flash sites aren’t indexed by Google and you can’t add any keywords in your content. More popular bands are just lucky that they don’t need to rely on this as they’re already getting traffic from fans.
Instead: A little flash here and there is fine. You want to concentrate on engaging and informative keyword rich content. You should also put a little time into your link building strategy and incoming links.

Just Too Much
As an artist, you want to accurately convey your image to your fans. Because of this, many artists go overboard with too many pictures, too much text, too many widgets and just way too much clutter. Lady Gaga’s bio is an eyesore with a page full of CAPITALIZED white text on a black/grey background. Surely, no one will really care to read this except for the super fans.
Instead: Have a section that is short and sweet. New fans want to get straight to the facts. You might want to include a more detailed bio page or even include a video to accompany the reduced text.

Ignoring Your Fans
Many band sites that aren’t updated frequently are static and dead. With Twitter, Myspace, and Facebook, band members are finding it easier to update on the social media platforms. Don’t forget about your site! Fans want to stay in touch and just small updates here and there will make them feel special. NIN is especially known for their fan interaction. Their website features a members area, an extensive photo gallery and even an area where you can mix your favorite songs.
Instead: Use Analytics to see where your fans are spending the bulk of their time. Are they interested in your lyrics, merch, or media? Now that you know, integrate a blog, photo blog, or even your social media profiles to appeal to those likes. Even a simple band Q&A once in awhile will help your website from dying out.

These are just some of my peeves, any other tips for bad band websites?

Simple Steps to Ensure Your Website is SEO-Friendly

If you’re like me, easily influenced by pretty shiny things that flash in my general direction, then you may be designing your website with aesthetics as your number one priority. That’s all well and good if you’re an established fashion label with ten years of Vogue and Vanity Fair creds. But, chances are, potential clients will be depending on search engines to find the type of services or products your company offers, without knowing that your exact company exists. Following these simple tips when building your website can lead to a more SEO-friendly design, giving you the search engine ranking and exposure your company needs to be on its way to becoming a household name.

Tip #1: Age Matters
Search engines want to “see” commitment. Websites that have been in existence for 5 years as opposed to 5 weeks will rank higher. When your website shows longevity, a search engine will consider it as a trusted and authoritative source.

Tip #2: Title Tags are Golden
Don’t make the mistake of titling your web pages with inside jokes only your frat brothers would know, or using overly simple titles like “My Website Page 2.” While this may make your life easier or more comical, it does zilch for search engines when they crawl your site for content. Use your most competitive keywords in your pages’ title tags, as they are the most important pieces of text on your website for SEO purposes.

Tip #3: The Pen (or QWERTY Keyboard) is Mightier than the Sword
You can toss out the notion that “a picture is worth a thousand words” because in the world of SEO, a picture is about as valuable as Enron stock. Rather than focusing on graphics, make sure that your homepage includes searchable content. If you plan on linking to other pages from your homepage, use text links rather than hyperlinks contained within an image. When search engines read a link that uses text (e.g. “Bulldog Puppies For Sale”) and it actually links to a page that has relevant content in the text of the title/URL/header and body copy, this builds your site’s “trustworthiness” and “authority” status putting you on the search engine’s honor roll.